I am sure by now everyone has seen the Black cultural phenomenon that is, "Black Panther." And for those who haven't, shame on you. A live action remake of a comic book series about a superhero from the mythical African nation of Wakanda, Black Panther is the first film since Avatar (2009/2010) to maintain the top spot in the box office for more than 5 consecutive weeks. and in doing so, it has steamrolled every " blah blah 27 Dresses" film in its path and proved what Black people have been tryna explain to yall for the absolute longest...Black art sells!
While for most, Black Panther, is just a dope ass film, complete with an A-list cast and set in a magical place only few would be hypothetically allowed to visit, for the the majority of Black people, the film is a form of abreaction. With literal Nazi's reclaiming their time in space and dusting off those white nationalist flags, the realization that white women are just as bad as white men, and the Cheeto-In-Chief actually suggesting giving guns to teachers to murder Black children, I mean, protect white children, I mean, protect children ... Black Panther is a breath of fresh coco butter fragranced air. It's a celebration of Black images, and conversation on Black freedom and Pan-Africanism. The Utopian film is everything the Black community wishes for the world dystopian world today.
In Wakanda, Wakandan's aren't judged by their differing amounts of melanin and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn't just still be alive, but he would be Minister of Defense. The term "Black Lives Matter" would have no reason to exist and the stains of greasy white fingertips wouldn't taint the back of every Black girls' afro.
Wakandan's are everything Black people want to be, and their lives are everything we desire for our own. A protected magical gated community, Wakanda was somehow able to escape the trauma of the trans Atlantic slave trade and colonialism and is the world's only society of Black people that has managed to stay free of racism, sexism, classism, oppression and Starbucks.
The film, however, posses two problems that if one were to think about too hard would be absolutely heartbreaking in this tale of Black nirvana. If you have high blood pressure, a history of heart problems or are prone to heat attacks, I suggest you stop reading here.
I mean it, reading any further might have you all the way in your feelings...
The first painfully obvious problem with Black Panther ruins the fantasy is that Wakanda is a conservative nation that has intentionally cut itself off from the world. There's a reason Black Americans, Europeans, Caribbeans..etc don't get a whiff of jojoba oil in the wind. The Wakandan's have purposely denounced solidarity and are keeping their kinte cloth, Black soap and VIBRANIUM to themselves. For decades, Wakandan rulers have rejected the idea of using their resources to empower the rest of he African Diaspora. They've even managed to isolate themselves for their neighboring African nations. Wakanda also lacks a history of revolution. Why does this matter? It matters because the traumas of slavery simply don't exist for them so there is no way for the rest of the African Diaspora to copy it's success without it help.
The second issue is that the man who should be the films hero, is presented as a sociopath, and the woman who originally spearheaded the idea of solidarity was only a supporting role. Killmonger, who should have been "Robin Hood-esk," is presented as a deranged caricature of the "unstable, violent and immoral" black man trope. An African American man who's dedicated his life to ending racism, poverty, mass incarceration and the breaking down of the Black family is the film foil to T'Challa. Nakia, on the other hand, while a spy, it overtly given little room to make even the smallest bit of "outside" problems, Wakanda's problems.
“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” - T' Challa